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Matrix is a decentralized real-time communication network that combines the openness and flexibility of IRC (open protocol stewarded by a nonprofit with community participation, several open-source server and client implementations, ability to host your own server and federate it with the other servers, interoperability with other communication networks) with the user-friendliness of modern centralized communication networks like Slack (web interface and mobile apps, rich HTML, easy catch-up on missed conversation, search, notifications, read-message tracking, message editing, emoji responses, voice calls and video conferencing). The official Matrix client, Element, can also be used as an IRC client / bouncer.

To avoid confusion with various other things it is often referred to as, after its main website.

Starting with Matrix[edit]

The easiest way to get started with Matrix is using the web interface of the standard client, Element (formerly Riot). To register, create a free Matrix account. You'll be able to use it both as a Matrix client and as an IRC client that can receive messages while offline.

There's also an Android and iOS app for Element, and a desktop app. Just install the appropriate version.

There's also a vast number of alternative clients, see “Try Matrix Now“ and “Clients” on Matrix website.

Using Element as an IRC client[edit]

Register a Matrix account, as above. Your username does not have to match your IRC nick (although it's always nice for avoiding confusion).

The UI-specific parts of the instructions above assume you are using the Element web interface.

Configuring your IRC nick[edit]

(This is optional, but your default nick is <your matrix nickname>[m] which is not very nice.)

  • Start a chat with the Matrix-IRC bridge of by clicking the (+) icon in the left sidebar next to "People" and entering and click the "Start Chat" button.
  • Wait until " joined the room." is displayed.
  • In the "Send a message" area at the bottom, enter !nick <yournick> and press the Enter key

(Make sure your nick is actually available. If have are using an IRC bouncer, make sure to disconnect it first. If you are using IRCCloud, signing out is not enough; you'll need to click on the gear icon next to the "Freenode" heading in the upper-right corner, and choose "Disconnect" to release the nick.)

Authenticating with Freenode[edit]

(This is optional but currently many Freenode channels don't allow unauthenticated users due to spam problems.)

Open a private chat with appservice-irc as above, then type !storepass <your password>. This will permanently store your password on the Matrix application server and use it automatically answer NickServ queries. (In the past this was somewhat unreliable but these days it seems to be working well.)

If you don't want to store your password, you can also just start a private chat with Freenode's NickServ (; see Send private messages section below) and type identify <username> <password>, as you would in an IRC client. (There is no way to use a secure protocol such as SASL, but your connection is to the Matrix homeserver and that part is always encrypted via HTTPS.)

If you do not have a Freenode account, you need to register one first; see instructions. In case you use Element for that, when the instructions say /msg nickserv <blah> you just need to send <blah> as a private message to NickServ.

Join IRC channels[edit]

  • Click on the "Explore" button near the top of the left-hand sidebar to bring up the room directory. (Note that the search functionality in that dialog mostly doesn't work for Freenode.)
  • Select "Freenode" in the right-hand dropdown, enter the channel name (such as #wikipedia-en) in the input field, and click the "Join" button in the input field or press Enter. In case of mobile apps where there is no dropdown option to filter room by project, you can search directly i.e. for #wikipedia-en IRC channel.
  • Click "Join the discussion" in the dialog that comes up (only the first time)

Send private messages[edit]

Click the (+) icon in the left sidebar next to "People", enter the username and click the "Start Chat" button. You can use the full Matrix ID which is @freenode_<username> for Freenode users (e.g. for the tgr nick), but just typing the username into the dialog and relying on search should work too. If you are already on the same channel then you can also just click on the username in the right sidebar (there is a field for filtering at the bottom, in case it's too long) and then on the "Start a chat" option.

If you have already sent messages to this person before (or received messages from them), you can just click on their name in the "People" section of the left sidebar instead.

Linking to Freenode channels[edit]

Freenode channels can be referenced within Matrix as #freenode_#<channel> (e.g. and can be linked as<channel> On this wiki, you can also use the {{matrix-channel}} template.


If you need further help with your Freenode connection, try issuing the command !help in your chat with If that doesn't work, you can try asking for help in the room, where people who maintain the IRC bridge code hang out.

To allow messages from unregistered IRC users send !cmd MODE <your nick> -R to appservice-irc. Due to Freenode's spam issues, this is not advised.

Wikimedia-related rooms[edit]

In addition to bridging to IRC channels, there are a few rooms on as well (some are just test spaces):

Further Links[edit]